Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says the fight against rhino poaching requires joint initiatives from all South Africans.
“The ongoing poaching of our rhino population is a source for great concern to government and the various stakeholders,” she said, speaking in Cape Town ahead of her Budget Vote in Parliament on Wednesday.
She said government would continue to prioritise the fight against rhino poaching.
“I would like to assure you that the department, our provinces and its public entities such as SanParks view this illegal killing of our national treasure in a very serious light and will continue to prioritise our fight against this crime jointly with our security cluster ministers and their departments,” she said.
South Africa has lost a total of 199 rhinos due to illegal rhino poaching since the beginning of the year.
In a bid to ensure that rhinos are protected, Molewa said government would continue to implement the various initiatives highlighted since last year, as well as place added measures to address the matter.
South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members, working in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies, have been deployed to various borders and a crime line has been established to improve the level of cooperation with the public as well as to make access for would-be informers much easier, are among the initiatives taken.
Molewa said the on-going scourge underscored the importance of SADC collaboration on the development of Transfrontier Conservation Areas. “The resolution is not managing through fences, but to continue the southern African initiative of cross-boundary conservation partnerships,” she said.
The minister added that they were cooperating with perceived transit or consumer countries in the People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
According to the latest statistics from the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Kruger National Park is still the most targeted area by poachers with the park having lost a total of 119 rhinos from the beginning of this year.
Targeted provinces include Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu-Natal which collectively account for 73 killed rhinos.
A total of 122 arrests have been made of which 108 were poachers, 10 receivers/couriers and four couriers/buyers. – BuaNews